Tsukuda 1/72 Nausicań - 
Gunship of the Valley of Wind




ą700 or $11.95




Scott Van Aken





My knowledge of Anime is almost non-existent, so I went to theweb and typed in Nausicań into a search engine. I was rewarded with quite a bitof stuff, much of it in Japanese! Apparently there is a movie as well as a magna(comic book) based on this character. No where in my reading did I see anythingabout this craft, so I am not sure if it is part of the movie or the magna onwhich the movie is based. 

Here is a brief synopsis of the character shown on the box art.

NAUSICA─ - She is the daughter of Jiru, the chief of a small kingdom calledthe Valley of the Wind. After Jiru was killed, Nausicań and her troops joinedthe Torumekian force according to a treaty signed long ago. Nausicań meanwhilediscovered that the Decayed Sea cleaned up the contaminated world, and bycommunicating with the Ohmu, the giant insects, she foresaw the coming of agreat disaster. She fights bravely and hopes to witness the coming of a newworld.

Confused?  Me too. If you want to find out more about it, here is a linkthat should be of some help.

Anyway, I thought the kit looked pretty cool and since it is obviouslysci-fi/fantasy, it is only right that an eclectic modeler such as myself wouldbe interested in building such a thing.


Though for some reason my scanner didn't pick it up, this kit is molded in agreenish grey plastic. All the parts come on two main sprues with a third forthe clear bits. Since this is an aircraft of some sort, it has a cockpit foreand aft. In the front there is a seat, side consoles and control stick as wellas an instrument panel. However, there is no floor or any fore or aft bulkheads.There is a full figure of Nausicań to fit into the pilot's seat. The rearcompartment has only a seat and instrument panel. There is a figure to fit intothe seat as well, though only the top half. Like the front, there is no floor orfront/rear bulkhead so the figure really needs to be in there to fill the space. The gunship can be built either wheels up or down. It has moveable wing flapsand a positionable main and tail wheels. A flight stand is included.

It has been a long time since I built a Tsukuda kit and though this one hasall the requisite engraved panels and details, there are sink marks in a fewlocations were locator pins are placed. Parts are relatively flash free, but somedo require cleanup before use. The clear bits are really distorted and scratchedfrom floating around in the bag. The clear sprue has also managed to scratch anumber of the parts in the kit.

Instructions are almost entirely in Japanese. This includes the color guide,so I hope you know your colors from all those Hasegawa and Tamiya kits! There are cautions and warnings in English (don't stick plastic parts in yourear; stuff like that). One very helpful suggestion was "Before assembling,read instructions carefully". Thanks! Actually the instructions are verygood despite being unable to read them. They inform the unwary of any possibleparts misalignments or misplacements. 


Construction and previews are two different things for many kits and this one isno exception. Generally the fit of the parts is not bad, but not really good. Iunderstand that this kit has been around for about ten years. Despite that,there is little flash though the mold seams are rather pronounced. The firstthing I did was start a major scraping project on all the parts. The next was tobuild up the interior parts, which fit rather well. These were painted steel andflat black. The seat cushion was done in red. Same with the back seat. Allneeded cleanup prior to gluing. The interior color is supposed to be a brown. Ipainted it a very dark brown along with the wheel wells and inside of theflaps. 

After additional research andconversations with John Lester of StarshipModeler, I found that this vehicle was supposed to be made of some naturalcomposite materials. That explains the earth tones of the kit. Anyway, once theinterior was built up and the rear seat painted, the clear bits for the side ofthe nose were installed. These distorted clear parts only fit one way, so besure to follow directions on which goes where. They were held in place usingnon-fogging superglue.

The interior was then gluedin place and when set in properly the fuselage halves were glued together. SinceI'm doing mine wheels down, the tail wheel wasn't installed. I also didn'tinstall the front instrument panel as you can't see it when it is in place,though the aft one is very visible.

While that was drying, thewings were glued together. There were no real problems with this. The wing flapslook as if they can be installed after the wings are glued on the fuselage sowere left off until later. Once they were dry and the sink marks filled in, theywere glued to the fuselage. Problems! The right wing root is much thicker thanthe right wing. The left isn't bad, but this means much filler and destructionof rivet detail. So many days were spent filling and sanding. I know that Icould have used Milliput or Superglue to do this job in less time, but I'm usedto filler so that is what I used.

Once the wings were smoothedout, it was time to add a few other exterior bits. In the back is a hook thatfits into a recess. On top are four lumps that are probably something to do withthe power system. Frankly, I have no idea how this thing is supposed to bepropelled as I see no exhaust ports at all. In the very front are some strakesthat need to be glued in place. The mounting holes for these parts as well asthe upper fuselage lumps are way oversize. Unfortunately, the front strakemounting slots need some filler to cover up. I also found a few more sink markson the wing leading edge and these were attended to at the same time. 

At this time the wingflaps/ailerons were installed. They are supposed to be installed when the wingsare glued on, but are flexible enough to be bent to fit into the slots provided.The fit is very loose and I suppose they will have to be glued in place or leftto droop in the down position. It was then time to start painting the airframeand some of the other bits and pieces.



According to the box art, the overall color is a sort of darksandy brown with the panel lines outlined in an even darker shade. I rarely liketo use the suggested scheme if I can think of something a little moreinteresting. While thinking about what colors to use, the now masked kit waspreshaded with panzer grey. When that was dry, the underside was painted usingAeromaster RLM 79 sandy brown. In addition, all the landing gear and doors werepainted this color. 

Having decided to do a multi-green upper surface color, the rearwas painted with Model Master FS 35337 Israeli Green. The middle section andforward wings were painted Model Master FS 35151 Interior Green, while the nosesection was painted with Aeromaster Russian Uppersurface Green. All are enamelpaints. This pretty well did in the preshading! The usual amount of back andforth painting then commenced as oversprays and such were touched up.

The guns also had to be painted at this time. The kitsuggestions of steel and aluminum were followed and the result looked prettygood. I have no idea what these things fire, but I assume it isn't a solid shotso no real dirtying up was done. Same for the rest of the kit. 


Once that was dry, the landing gear was installed as were the'guns'. The rear seat was installed as well at this time.  I didn't fill in the holes underthe wings for the lower 'doors' as I felt maybe some positive locking devicewould have been appropriate. Let's see some judge hit me on that in a contest!!

The landing gear really didn't fit too well at all. While theylined up with the holes, the forward mount on the gear had to be trimmed backquite a bit to fit properly. It was almost as if they were designed to be gluedin before the wing halves were cemented together. Once that was takencare of, the upper and lower 'doors' were glued in place. The forward ones fitwell, and after a small amount of trimming to let the wheels through, the lowerones fit into place. Not a lot of the wheel drops below this door.

Final prep was to use pastels on the upper surface. I did allthe panel lines in a dark green pastel. Initially, I used a yellow-green for thelighter green area, but it didn't look right so it was overdone with the darkgreen. The lower side got no pastels as the preshading showed through prettywell there. A coat of clear flat sealed in the pastels. Last part to beassembled were the windscreens. The rear one fit well after the mounting tab wascut off. The frame of the front screen and 'gunsight' were painted flat blackwhile the aft screen was left clear. Finally, the tape was taken off the clearbits on the side and it was done.



This kit was about what I had expected when I bought it. I hadexpected an interesting kit that would have some fit problems, and that is whatI got. Nothing major that any average modeler couldn't handle and certainly itwent together better than many US made sci-fi subjects. Biggest disappointmentwould be the rather poor transparencies that are in the kit. Other problems canbe fixed, but not glitches in clear parts.

It makes interesting reading to read how someone who normallybuilds aircraft models (me) rates this kit compared to someone who regularlybuilds sci-fi kits (John Lester). John's review raves about the great fit, whilemine is less than that enthusiastic. Aircraft modelers (as well as those whomodel armor and cars), are used to a generally high level of excellence in fitwith our Tamiya and Hasegawa kits. Sci-Fi modelers generally don't have it sogood as most sci-fi kits I have seen would probably end up in the trash if it were anaircraft or car kit. 

Anyway, aside from that little observation, I can recommend thiskit to those of average ability who find the shape of this kit to be as intriguingas I did. It is probably one of the neatest-looking kits I have done in a longtime. Be interesting to see the reaction at the club when I drag this thing innext month!!


Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of youmanufacturers or shop owners want to send products for review and building,please contact me.